Give Your Standby Power Practices a Jolt

It is critical for security systems integrators to map out power supply locations In large-scale deployments, as many are overlooked during a preventative maintenance visit.

In today’s landscape of security integration, standby power requirements can vary drastically based on the type of system being installed. Customers rely on these standby power systems to protect and secure their premises during man-made or natural disasters.

During the design process, integrators are often directed to follow strict federal and state regulatory compliance requirements, or must adhere to additional, minimum standards of operation set by presiding local authorities when primary power sources are not available. Standby power systems must be transparent and allow seamless operation from primary to secondary sources to avoid any interruption in service.

Standby power supplies are designed and specified based on the maximum draw specifications of each device connected to an individual power supply. As a general rule, most engineers only specify an 80% load ratio per supply to avoid overloading issues, taking into account additions or changes during future expansions.

RELATED: Maintaining Security When Power Fails

Preventative Maintenance Can Pay Dividends

So when and how do things go wrong? Customers often discover during a power outage that some or all of the expected standby time has been greatly reduced, causing systems to lose power and collapse much sooner than expected. This can create a serious potential breach of security – with intrusion systems unable to report alarms to the central station; magnetic locking devices or fail-safe electric strikes no longer being secure; and life-safety platforms unable to detect or report life-threatening situations.

In most cases, the responding service integrators discover a lack of preventative maintenance as the root cause. Most commonly, issues are reported because the backup battery itself is out of date and needs to be replaced, or problems arise involving devices that are directly attached to the power supply itself. It’s very common to find magnetic locks or electric strikes that are still completely functional, but drawing three times the normal current load. These are often signs of future component failure and should be replaced as soon as possible; each defective device may reduce the original engineered standby time by 30% per device operating outside the OEM specification. Security installers should institute annual preventative maintenance programs, including regular battery replacement and complete load testing of each device attached to single power supply.

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About the Author


Bob Stockwell pens Security Sales & Integration’s “IT Intelligence” column, which covers network security. He is Chief Technology Officer for Stanley Security.

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